University Place Coach Charged with Multiple Counts of Child Rape
By KING 5 Staff - KING 5 News | Follow the link to access the article online
TACOMA, Wash. — A former youth coach and University Place School District employee has been charged with multiple counts of child rape and molestation.
Michael Joseph Basse, 59, was arrested on April 21 and appeared in Pierce County Superior Court on Monday. Basse faces eight counts of child rape and five counts of child molestation.
In addition to being a youth baseball coach and martial arts instructor, Basse was an employee of the University Place School District from 2007 until he was terminated in 2016.
According to probable cause documents, a victim first came forward to the University Place Police Department in October 2022. The victim said his first sexual encounter with Basse was in a parking lot outside the University of Puget Sound. Basse offered and then performed oral sex on the victim.
Multiple victims also reported being assaulted by Basse at Tenchikan Dojo in Tacoma.
Numerous other victims came forward in the coming months according to police, including the brother of the initial victim.
Tacoma law firm Cochran Douglas has been retained as victims' advocates in this case, and is looking into the facts of the cases. Attorney Loren Cochran said prosecutors told the judge that more victims were being interviewed by detectives and more criminal charges against Basse are expected to be filed.
Judge Ronald Culpepper ordered Basse be held in custody with a $250,000 bail.
Termination from University Place School District in 2016
The University Place School District said in a statement that they were "profoundly saddened" by the allegations and that the safety and well-being of students is their first priority.
Basse was terminated from his position at the district in 2016 where he had been working as a substitute teacher after "sending inappropriate messages and making inappropriate comments to several kids," according to the statement.
The district said Basse was immediately removed from the district's substitute list and was formally separated from the district after an investigation. At that time there were no reports of inappropriate touching or physical sexual abuse that came up in the district's investigation or an investigation conducted by police.
In the statement, the district said they have no information that would indicate any of the charges he currently faces stem from his time working in schools:
"The district recently became aware of the criminal charges made against Mr. Basse and the ongoing criminal investigation. However, at this time, we have received no indication that the crimes for which he is charged are related to his work in the district. From the information we’ve been provided by police, these incidents took place at other locations and were associated with other roles he played in the community. We will, of course, continue to cooperate with the law enforcement investigation and monitor any new information or developments closely."